It’s true that a great customer experience is key to winning happy customers — but to keep a pulse on customer satisfaction, you need to dig a little deeper.
To understand the quality of a customer’s experience with your brand, you need to track Customer Effort Score (CES). This metric lets you evaluate your customer service efforts by tracking the level of effort a shopper must exert to fix an issue with your customer support team.
In this article, you’ll learn exactly how to track and monitor CES, as well as how to optimize your support strategy to minimize customer effort as much as possible.
Customer Effort Score (CES) is a way ecommerce brands can accurately measure how much effort a customer has to exert in order to interact with your support resources.
This metric is relevant to any interaction a shopper might have that touches your customer support strategy, like:
The easiest way to measure customer effort score is by sending customers a survey after their interaction with customer success ends. In this survey, ask them to rate their service experience on a 1-10 point scale.
We’ll dive into the details behind how to create a survey to measure the amount of effort your customers take shortly.
📚 Related: 13 live chat support metrics
No shopper wants a high-effort experience. According to The Effortless Experience, 96% of high-effort customer experiences drive a customer to be disloyal to your brand — making retention nearly impossible.
Clearly, it's worth the effort to make life a little easier for your customers — doing so will convince many of them to shop with your brand again.
When you calculate your customer effort score, you’re able to keep a pulse on exactly what it takes to create seamless experiences that lead to increased loyalty. The metric is a strong predictor of customer retention and can help identify pain points in your customer support strategy.
As we mentioned earlier, you can measure customer effort by sending customers a customer effort survey.
In this survey, customers are asked to rate their experience with customer support on a Likert scale from “less effort” to “a lot of effort”.
Let’s walk step-by-step through how to build a CES survey and how to send them to your customers. Then, we’ll look at how to interpret results once you’ve compiled enough data.
You can send a CES survey immediately after any customer interaction, like post-purchase.
To zoom in even more on customer effort, consider only sending a CES survey once a shopper has a service interaction with your support strategy, like chatting with a live agent, visiting a self-service portal, or clicking through an interactive FAQ page.
This way, you’re able to get an accurate idea of how easy, or how frustrating, your support touchpoints are.
A CES survey typically has one simple question that asks, “How easy was it to solve your problem today?”
Every brand tracks responses a little differently, using a scaled system. Here’s a few examples of different kinds of scales you can choose from:
A word-based scale lets respondents share their experience by choosing a word or phrase ranging from “very easy” to “very difficult.”
A sentiment scale gives customers the option to share their experience using angry, happy, or sad faces to depict the emotion they felt while seeking support from your brand.
A numerical scale lets customers share their experience using a scale of 1 to any number of your choosing. Some brands like a scale of 1 to 10, while others prefer scales of 1 to 5.
No matter what thresholds you set, 1 should always be the lowest, meaning the worst, and your end number should be the highest, meaning the best.
It's important to note that no option is better than another. The survey type you choose all depends on your shop’s needs.
Some brands might also ask an open-ended question as a follow-up so customers can share specific details about their experience.
You can send a CES survey question through email, SMS, or a similar channel to customers who recently reached out to your support team.
Of course, you can send a customer effort score question manually, but it takes precious time away from your reps who are busy handling active tickets. Automating the process means your agents can focus on more meaningful work, like following up with disgruntled shoppers.
Gorgias integrates with Delighted to provide easy-to-use survey templates to automatically distribute customer surveys, including for CES. Once a customer makes a purchase, it triggers Gorgias to automatically send a customer effort score survey to that customer.
Like many other customer service metrics, you want to calculate your average CES in order to get a snapshot view of how most customers perceive their experience with your support resources.
If you want to calculate customer effort manually, start by tracking response data from your CES surveys over a given period of time.
The timeframe all depends on your goals. You can look at a month, quarter, half-year, etc. Ultimately, it's more important to be consistent with the timeframes you measure. That way, you can accurately track how your CES changes over time.
Once you’ve collected enough data, plug it into this simple formula:
Divide the number of customers who agree the interaction was easy by the total number of responses.
To put it in actual numbers, if 100 people responded to your CES survey, and the total sum of their scores amounts to 800, that means your CES score is 8 (out of 10).
Like most other customer service metrics, there is no such thing as a standardized “perfect” benchmark for customer effort.
That’s because it all goes back to your brand and its goals. What makes sense for your customer effort might not translate to another ecommerce shop.
As a general rule of thumb, when it comes to CES you want your score to be as high as possible.
A high CES shows that your support strategy is clear cut and that customers have to exert minimal effort to have their problems resolved. Conversely, a low CES means customers find their experiences with your support resources arduous — putting your brand at risk of a high churn rate.
The best way to drive a high CES is to provide a painless and straightforward experience. If your CES isn’t quite as high as you’d like it to be, start by asking yourself these questions:
From there, you can look into ways to optimize your support strategy to boost your customer effort score.
To improve your customer effort score, you need to build pathways to make it as easy as possible for customers to find the answers they’re looking for. That means decreasing the number of steps it takes for a customer to complete a task and optimizing your first response time.
Research from Genesys shows that 94% of customers intend to make a purchase after a low-effort experience — versus 4% of customers after a high-effort experience.
Clearly, it’s worth the effort to optimize your customer experience.
Let’s look at some of the easiest ways ecommerce brands can lower their CES using functions commonly found in helpdesks.
A knowledge base is a portal, of sorts. It connects your shoppers to both sales and customer service so they can make an empowered purchasing decision.
The beauty of a knowledge base is that is goes way beyond just a static library of articles.
BrüMate's Help Center is a learning environment where customers can go to in-depth knowledge about their products.
Customers might not reach out to your agents immediately.
According to Gartner, 70% of customers seek out self-service options before contacting support.
Offering more self-service options also means you can deflect low-priority tickets so your agents can focus on solving more challenging customer issues.
We’ve already discussed a popular self-service option: knowledge bases. Here are some other examples of what customer self-service might look like:
Many of the tickets your agents handle are repetitive.
Sure, tracking a customer’s order is important, but automation can handle these kinds of straightforward questions for your team.
In customer service, automation likely won’t replace your hardworking support reps. Rather, automation can work with your teams to improve workflows and optimize communication with your customers by tackling redundant manual work.
A helpdesk like Gorgias can help you completely automate 60% of repetitive tickets with a 0-second response time.
Assigning ticket priorities is a best practice to empower your team to become more efficient. But you could spend all day on this task alone.
Ticket prioritization is another useful form of automation, assigning low-, medium-, and high-value to every incoming request. This way, your team can handle the higher-priority issues first.
Macros are another form of automation that optimize a customer support team’s workflow.
Macros are pre-written, automatic responses to incoming customer requests.
Gorgias Macros automatically pull customer data into your messages, like name, order number, and shipping addresses. This makes for a more efficient conversation and helps customers get to a resolution with minimal effort for both the customer and the agent.
Customer effort is a big slice of the pie when it comes to monitoring your customer experience, but it can’t show the whole picture on its own.
We recommend bolstering your CES efforts with additional metrics in order to add helpful context to your customer support strategy.
Plus, it gives you a better look into the customer’s journey, so you can see how shoppers experience your brand — and give you ideas for how to boost satisfaction and drive loyalty.
Customer satisfaction score (CSAT) is a metric to measure your customer base’s level of satisfaction with their experience.
The metric is one of the most important measurements your support team can track. Satisfied customers are the key to unlock loyalty, reviews, and referrals, along with returning customers that boost revenue for your brand.
With Gorgias, you can automatically send a customer satisfaction survey after each interaction with customer support:
Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a commonly tracked metric that lets you learn how likely your customers are to recommend your brand to their friends and family.
This metric likely correlates closely with your CES. A customer who has had a great experience is likely to want to hype you up to their networks, versus a customer who had to put in a ton of effort to resolve an issue.
If you optimize your NPS, there’s a good chance your CES will also improve — which can lead to more repeat customers and a boost in customer loyalty.
Ecommerce churn rate is the percentage of lost customers your business sees over a given period of time.
This metric is similar to Customer Churn Rate (CCR), which is typically measured by SaaS or subscription-based B2B companies. These companies can easily see when a customer cancels their subscription, making this data easy to monitor.
Ecommerce, or online stores, can measure churn rate by looking at negative customer feedback, like a high CES, in order to identify customers at risk for churn.
A helpdesk like Gorgias has the power to immediately optimize your customer service team — which, as we’ve learned, directly impacts the effort a customer has to exert with your brand.
Because Gorgias has purpose-built automation features like Chat, Macros, and ticket prioritization, it can empower your customers to find a resolution to their problems as fast as possible.